Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Faces: Beauty shop portraits April 10, 2015

Portraits # 16 and 17: Charlotte and Fonzie

Charlotte Lurken

Charlotte Lurken

Typically, I would not enter a salon unless in need of a hair cut.

But it was the “gifts” part of Colleen’s Salon & Gifts on West Concord’s main drag that drew me into her shop in the summer of 2011.

Colleen Snaza's dog, Fonzie

Colleen Snaza’s dog, Fonzie

And therein I photographed Charlotte and Fonzie, whose portraits stand as favorites among the thousands of images I’ve shot through the years.

I captured a slice of small town life. A place, a woman, a dog. Ordinary. Yet extraordinary. It is the everyday that matters most to me as a photographer.

Even now, year’s after taking these portraits, I still like to study them, to focus on the details—the smile on Charlotte’s face as her eyes linger on Fonzie, whom I dubbed “The Beauty Shop Dog;” Charlotte’s polished toenails; the messy stashes of magazines and tilted hairstyling books; the puzzle of floor coverings; the woman’s tennis shoe poking into the scene on the left…

There’s so much to see, and appreciate.

Colleen may call this a “salon.” But to me, this will always be a beauty shop. For this place defines beauty, small town style.


This is part of a series, Minnesota Faces, featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


25 Responses to “Minnesota Faces: Beauty shop portraits”

  1. Almost Iowa Says:

    I have often wondered why women wear those big helmets in beauty salons. Is it for safety? There are things that women will never understand about men and things that men will never understand. It’s all part of what makes life so fun.

    Love the photos. 🙂

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    Yes…..and it is in “the dailies” that we live our lives……so easy to overlook! That’s why your role is so important, dear Friend. You help us to slow a bit and really “see” in the moment!!! Hugs……….. (love that tennis shoe, also!!!!)

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    🙂 Fonzie center frame makes the photo.

  4. Littlesundog Says:

    What a sweet post! I’m with you… a salon might be the new and modern word but the beauty shop era takes me back to a special place in my youth.

  5. You seriously need to reserve a space and display your Minnesota Faces photography 🙂 Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

  6. Jackie Says:

    Great photo’s Audrey! The everyday stuff that we tend to ignore, I loved scanning the first photo, I noticed the random foot sticking out on the Left corner, and are those little children’s books on the bottom shelf of the end table?

  7. Wonderful pictures. Looks like a step back in time, too.

  8. Sue Ready Says:

    What a fun place to highlight life in your photo jouney that captures life in a small town. This reminds me of a scene right out of the movie Steel Magnolias. And I TOTALLY agree with others you should find a home for your Minnesota Faces project. 🙂

  9. Thread crazy Says:

    Those pictures remind me so of the beauty shop my Mom used to go to when I was a child. Oh the thoughts I had of those ladies with those “helmets” on their heads! I must say Audrey your Minnesota Faces stirs up memories from my childhood that I thought I had forgotten. Thanks for doing that –

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